From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with Foxfire.
This article is about the web browser. For the operating system, see Firefox OS. For other uses, see Firefox (disambiguation).
A screenshot of Firefox 39 running on Windows 10
|Developer(s)||Mozilla Foundation and contributors
|Initial release||September 23, 2002|
39.0 (July 2, 2015) [±]
ESR 38.1.0 (July 2, 2015) [±]
ESR 31.8.0 (July 2, 2015) [±]
|Operating system||Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, Firefox OS|
|Available in||79 languages|
Mobile web browser
|Standard(s)||HTML5, CSS3, RSS, Atom|
|Origins and lineage|
Firefox was created in 2002 under the name "Phoenix" by the Mozilla community members who wanted a standalone browser rather than the Mozilla Application Suite bundle. Even during its beta phase, Firefox proved to be popular by its testers and was praised for its speed, security and add-ons compared with Microsoft's then-dominant Internet Explorer 6. Firefox was released in November 2004, and was highly successful with 60 million downloads within nine months, which was the first time that Internet Explorer's dominance was challenged. Firefox is considered the spiritual successor of Netscape Navigator, as the Mozilla Foundation was created by Netscape in 1998 before their acquisition by AOL.
As of February 2015, Firefox has between 12% and 20% of worldwide usage as a "desktop" browser, making it, per different sources, the third most popular web browser. Still, the browser is most popular in several countries, as a desktop browser (or even across all platforms) including Indonesia, Germany, and Iran, at 50%, 44% and 37%, of the market share, respectively. According to Mozilla, as of December 2014, there are half a billion Firefox users around the world.
- 1 History
- 2 Features
- 3 Release history
- 4 System requirements
- 5 Licensing
- 6 Trademark and logo
- 7 Promotion
- 8 Performance
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
Main article: History of FirefoxThe Firefox project began as an experimental branch of the Mozilla project by Dave Hyatt, Joe Hewitt and Blake Ross. They believed the commercial requirements of Netscape's sponsorship and developer-driven feature creep compromised the utility of the Mozilla browser. To combat what they saw as the Mozilla Suite's software bloat, they created a stand-alone browser, with which they intended to replace the Mozilla Suite. On April 3, 2003, the Mozilla Organization announced that they planned to change their focus from the Mozilla Suite to Firefox and Thunderbird. The community-driven SeaMonkey was formed and eventually replaced the Mozilla Application Suite in 2005.
The Firefox project went through many versions before the version 1.0 was released on November 9, 2004.
Main article: Features of FirefoxFeatures include tabbed browsing, spell checking, incremental find, live bookmarking, Smart Bookmarks, a download manager, private browsing, location-aware browsing (also known as "geolocation") based on a Google service and an integrated search system that uses Google by default in most localizations. Functions can be added through extensions, created by third-party developers, of which there is a wide selection, a feature that has attracted many of Firefox's users.
Additionally, Firefox provides an environment for web developers in which they can use built-in tools, such as the Error Console or the DOM Inspector, or extensions, such as Firebug.
Firefox has passed the Acid2 standards-compliance test since version 3.0. Mozilla had originally stated that they did not intend for Firefox to pass the Acid3 test fully because they believed that the SVG fonts part of the test had become outdated and irrelevant, due to WOFF being agreed upon as a standard by all major browser makers. Because the SVG font tests were removed from the Acid3 test in September 2011, Firefox 4 and greater scored 100/100.
Firefox also implements a proprietary protocol from Google called "Safe Browsing", used to exchange data related with phishing and malware protection.
See also: Browser securityFirefox uses a sandbox security model, and limits scripts from accessing data from other websites based on the same-origin policy. It also provides support for smart cards to web applications, for authentication purposes. It uses SSL/TLS to protect communications with web servers using strong cryptography when using the HTTPS protocol. The freely available HTTPS Everywhere add-on enforces HTTPS, even if a regular HTTP URL is entered. Firefox now supports HTTP/2.
The Mozilla Foundation offers a "bug bounty" (up to US$3000 cash reward and a Mozilla T-shirt) to researchers who discover severe security holes in Firefox. Official guidelines for handling security vulnerabilities discourage early disclosure of vulnerabilities so as not to give potential attackers an advantage in creating exploits.
Because Firefox generally has fewer publicly known unpatched security vulnerabilities than Internet Explorer (see Comparison of web browsers), improved security is often cited as a reason to switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox. The Washington Post reported that exploit code for known critical unpatched security vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer was available for 284 days in 2006. In comparison, exploit code for known, critical security vulnerabilities in Firefox was available for nine days before Mozilla issued a patch to remedy the problem.
A 2006 Symantec study showed that, although Firefox had surpassed other browsers in the number of vendor-confirmed vulnerabilities that year through September, these vulnerabilities were patched far more quickly than those found in other browsers – Firefox's vulnerabilities were fixed on average one day after the exploit code was made available, as compared to nine days for Internet Explorer. Symantec later clarified their statement, saying that Firefox still had fewer security vulnerabilities than Internet Explorer, as counted by security researchers.
In 2010 a study of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), based on data compiled from the National Vulnerability Database (NVD), Firefox was listed as the fifth most vulnerable desktop software, with Internet Explorer as the eighth, and Google Chrome as the first.
InfoWorld has cited security experts saying that, as Firefox becomes more popular, more vulnerabilities will be found, a claim that Mitchell Baker, president of the Mozilla Foundation, has denied. "There is this idea that market share alone will make you have more vulnerabilities. It is not relational at all," she said.
In October 2009, Microsoft's security engineers acknowledged that Firefox was vulnerable to a security issue found in the 'Windows Presentation Foundation' browser plug-in since February of that year. A .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 Windows Update had silently installed the vulnerable plug-in into Firefox. This vulnerability has since been patched by Microsoft.
As of February 11, 2011, Firefox 3.6 had no known unpatched security vulnerabilities according to Secunia. Internet Explorer 8 had five unpatched security vulnerabilities, the worst being rated "Less Critical" by Secunia. Mozilla claims that all patched vulnerabilities of Mozilla products are publicly listed.
On January 28, 2013, Mozilla was recognized as the most trusted internet company for privacy in 2012. This study was performed by the Ponemon Institute and was a result of a survey from more than 100,000 consumers in the United States.
In February 2013, plans were announced for Firefox 22 to disable third-party cookies by default. However, the introduction of the feature was then delayed so Mozilla developers could "collect and analyze data on the effect of blocking some third-party cookies." Mozilla also collaborated with Stanford University's "Cookie Clearinghouse" project to develop a blacklist and whitelist of sites that will be used in the filter.
In January 2015, TorrentFreak reported that using Firefox when connected to the internet using a VPN can be a serious security issue due to the browser's support for WebRTC.
Main article: Mozilla localizations
Platform availabilityDesktop version of Firefox is available and supported for Windows, OS X and Linux, while the Firefox for mobile is available for Android and Firefox OS. In September 2013, the Windows 8 Touch interface, optimized for touchscreen use, was introduced on the "Aurora" release channel; however, the project has since been cancelled as of March 2014, citing a lack of user adoption of the beta versions.
Firefox has also been ported to FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, OpenIndiana, SkyOS, and an unofficial rebranded version called Timberwolf has been available for AmigaOS 4.
DRM with HTML5, Windows-onlyStarting with version 38.0, on Windows Vista and later Firefox implements a "sandbox" for proprietary software digital rights management (DRM), called Encrypted Media Extensions (EME). The DRM playback functionality is provided through an automatically downloaded plugin that runs inside the implemented sandbox, provided by Adobe and called Adobe Primetime Content Decryption Module (CDM); the plugin itself and the DRM playback functionality can optionally be disabled in browser preferences.
According to Mozilla:
While some DRM-controlled content can be viewed using the Microsoft Silverlight and Adobe Flash plugins, many services are moving towards HTML5 video that requires a different DRM mechanism called a Content Decryption Module (CDM).
Beginning in version 38, Firefox desktop supports HTML5 playback of DRM-controlled video and audio through the Adobe Primetime CDM. This CDM implements a DRM system called Adobe Primetime, which was previously available via the Adobe Flash plugin. [..]
Currently, Adobe Primetime is only available in Microsoft Windows Vista and above when using 32-bit versions of Firefox. Mac OS X, Linux, Windows XP and 64-bit versions of Firefox are currently not supported.—Mozilla, Watch DRM content on Firefox